PARENTS must test their children for Covid twice a week under the government’s plan to reopen schools, it’s reported.
Secondary school pupils’ families will be given lateral flow tests to administer at home during term time, it is claimed.
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Patients will have to test children for Covid twice a week under government plans to reopen schools, it’s claimedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Schools would also oversee mass testing of pupils once at the start of term, The Telegraph reports.
Classrooms are set to reopen from March 8, with Boris Johnson due to unveil his roadmap out of Covid lockdown on Monday.
Unions and ministers are understood to have struck a compromise to allow both home and school testing.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Britain’s largest union for secondary heads, had wanted pupils to be given home test kits to avoid schools becoming “field hospitals”.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the ASCL, said: “We think that is a good idea.
“It reinforces the responsibility for families rather than assuming that bits of the state, like schools, will carry out the tests.”
Union bosses and government officials are due to thrash out the mass testing plan on Thursday.
Tests at the start of term may be done by the Army or public health officials, Mr Barton said.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce the testing rollout next weekCredit: Crown Copyright
Lateral flow tests require a small nasal or saliva sampleCredit: London News Pictures
Secondary schools will also be able to stagger the return of different years to allow pupils to be tested when they return, The Telegraph reports.
It means some secondary schools may not be fully reopened for two weeks, sources told the newspaper.
It comes as new research shows Covid is spreading most rapidly among primary-school age children and young people.
A React 1 study from Imperial College found the disease was most commonly found in kids aged five to 12 and adults aged 18-24 despite case rates plunging by two thirds in a month in England.
Meanwhile, face masks will be made compulsory outside classroom bubbles for students in secondary schools where social distancing isn’t possible in England, The Guardian reports.
It could mean students have to wear masks while walking between classrooms
It’s not clear whether Mr Johnson will announce on Monday that all pupils will be returning on March 8 or they will stagger them.
It may be that some kids in key exam years will go back first, followed by others at a later date.
But some scientific advisers fear a ‘big bang’ return of all students could see cases spike once more.
Rapid lateral flow tests produce results in 30 minutes, but are less sensitive than ‘gold standard’ PCR tests, which are sent to a laboratory.
The government says lateral flow tests may only produce false negatives if a test is taken “outside the infectious window”.
Lateral flow test usually involve taking a sample from the back of the throat and from the nose with a swab.
The PM is drawing up plans to test more than 400,000 Brits a day in homes and workplaces in a bid to clear a path out of lockdown.
NHS Test and Trace is preparing for nationwide ‘surge’ Covid testing which will see millions of lateral flow tests posted out each week.